California is home to some of the most beautiful and historical horse racing tracks in America. These tracks are home to some of the most exciting events in the sport of horse racing.
The best horse racing tracks to visit in California include Del Mar, Santa Anita Park, Los Alamitos and Golden Gates Field. These facilities hold some of the most elite horse races in the country. From Thoroughbred to even Quarter horse racing, these tracks are well worth the visit for any horse lover.
Here are the best horse racing tracks in California.
1. Del Mar Racetrack
Del Mar Racetrack opened to the public in 1937, with Bing Crosby present as it opened its doors. The stunning racetrack is located along the beautiful Pacific Ocean coastline.
The racetrack is exactly one mile long and has a capacity of 44,000 people, making it the second-largest racing venue in the West, only after Santa Anita. The track is home to two clubs, the Turf Club and the Saddle Club. Though the Saddle Club has no dress code, the Turf Club requires gentlemen to wear a buttoned-up shirt and jacket. Ladies must wear suits, daytime dresses, or sundresses.
Del Mar is home to some of the biggest races in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup. In 2017, they even hosted the Breeders’ Cup. The track has seen legends such as Seabiscuit race Ligaroti.
2. Santa Anita Park
With palm trees and a beautiful backdrop of mountains, Santa Anita Park is truly a sight to behold. Located in Arcadia, the racetrack first opened up in 1907.
The original Santa Anita Park closed down in 1909 and then sadly burned down in 1912. The track was rebuilt a few blocks from the original and reopened on Christmas Day in 1934. The next year, the famous Santa Anita Handicap was run for the first time, awarding $100,000 in winnings.
Santa Anita is home to some of the most elite horse races, including the Santa Anita Derby, Santa Anita Handicap, and even the Breeders’ Cup on many occasions. As the biggest racetrack in the West, the grandstand can hold 26,000 people and the track infield can accommodate more than 50,000 guests.
The park features a one-mile natural dirt main track that makes a turf course of 0.9 miles, as well as a hillside turf track that can accommodate races of different lengths.
Some of the greatest racehorses ever, such as Justify, Seabiscuit, Affirmed, John Henry, and Zenyatta, have raced at this legendary track. A free Seabiscuit tour is available, which includes visits to the stable area, a drive-by Seabiscuit’s original barn and stall, jockeys and silks room and saddling paddock, as well as much more.
3. Los Alamitos Racecourse
Los Alamitos Racecourse is not only home to Thoroughbred racing, but Quarter horse racing as well. Located in Cypress, the beautiful track features palm trees and a state-of-the-art dining venue.
Los Alamitos opened up back in 1951 and first started with Quarter horse racing. Now, the racecourse offers year-round Quarter horse and Thoroughbred racing. It is home to The Champion of Champions, a $1 million Quarter Horse racing event. It is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, racecourses for Quarter horse racing.
The outer one-mile track is used for Thoroughbred racing, where the inner 0.625-mile track is for Quarter horse racing. The Vessels Club features a multi-million dollar dining, drinking, and social area, with a dress code, where spectators get impeccable views of the racetrack.
4. Golden Gates Field
Golden Gates Field is conveniently located between Albany and Berkley, along the beautiful shoreline of San Francisco Bay. The field opened up in 1941 and features a one-mile all-weather track, to which a second seven-furlong turf course is added.
Golden Gates is one of only a few tracks to have a Tapeta surface. The surface is made up of a fine mix of silica sand, wax, and fibers that simulate the surface of the turf. It does particularly well after heavy rains and snow, while also being safer for both horses and riders.
Golden Gates features such races as the Berkley Handicap, the San Francisco Mile Stakes, and the Silky Sullivan Handicap. Stake winners such as the notable Silky Sullivan and Lost in the Fog brought fame to the park. Triple Crown winner Citation and Irish-bred legend Noor even met up at the field for an exciting matchup in the Golden Gate Handicap.
The grounds also have a Turf Club and a large variety of luxurious dining options for racing spectators. The field offers spectacular views with seating for 8,000 in the main grandstand, 5,200 in the clubhouse, and 1,500 in the Turf Club.